The stone, trees, spaces, wild animals, to the pulse of all life, entail the peculiar beauty of northern peripheral New Territories where artist Cheung Tsz Hin grew up. From his childhood home in Sandy Ridge, granny’s home in Ta Kwu Ling and the village studio in Yuen Long, the lush greeneries, bustling with abundant lives, nourished Cheung’s growth and bore witness to his happenings, hence becoming the subject that he relentlessly studies and draws inspiration from. Studying the vegetation around him in detail and taking care of the potted plants in his studio, are moments of respite for Cheung from his daily life. The blossoming and withering of plants and their transient lives remind the artist of the passage of time and the significance of being. The planting process also made Cheung realise the endeavour and the harvest may not be proportionate. Whether the meticulous care and painstaking nourishment will bear fruit or not, depends on if there is sufficient sunlight and air. Similarly, the light and space also play an important role in Cheung’s painting process. The tremendous effort once paid weaves into heavy emotional ties then Cheung fails to visualise his mindscape, a challenge that Cheung can only spinelessly accept.
The flickers of dusk, the cool tones in the garden and the untraced, vast convergence of light invade blatantly into Cheung’s canvases, all inextricable with the relocation of his studio from Yuen Long to Fo Tan. The departure from where he resided for six years did not alter his way of perception that much. However, traces of transition from the countryside to the urban are evident in his works, his depiction of light is also becoming steadier and more explicit. The natural sunlight embracing the dilapidated room on the rooftop is replaced with solemn staged lights; in addition, thin layers of pale pigments transformed into compact and relatively vivid colour patches. The enlargement of personal space in the new studio also changed his way of composition from balancing different elements into planning the entire canvas as a single element. Hence, an intuitive spontaneity, which is eventually distilled into a prism of sentiments, is uncovered in Cheung's compositions. The bedazzling radiance reminds him of the definite relationship between light and shadow – in the darkest shades, Cheung connects with the black void deep within him. His anxiety towards humanity and the quotidian, lurks within the light in his works.
Vegetation and light set the tone and temperature of Cheung Tsz Hin’s art. The artist sources his subject matter from everyday life, but he is not confined or limited by the physical environment. By intrinsic improvisation, Cheung outpours the fragments of old memories from his mind onto his canvases – the vibrant representations in his oeuvre reflect his fond remembrance of specific occasions of time, space, people and scent. His seemingly endless irregular lines and repeatedly painted colour patches witness his indignation towards a claimed “spinelessness”, but also cure his vexation and restore peace within his heart. Though painting might not be able to provide solutions to the challenges of life, one could choose to paint incessantly - by sowing seeds that enfold hope on the canvases, life is perhaps, ploughed in goodwill.